Pan’s Labyrinth’ a darkly dazzling masterpiece

Bridget Nordquist

Bridget Nordquist

When I was recently watching the Golden Globe awards one film was mentioned repeatedly that had me puzzled. Over and over I heard mention of a movie called “Pan’s Labyrinth.” This is the same movie that was called one of the best films of 2006 and “a transcendent work of art.” When “Pan’s Labyrinth” was later nominated for six Oscar awards, I made it my mission to see this movie at all costs. Of course, this meant a trip to Sioux Falls and the enormity that is the Century Theatres. In the end, the trip was worth every penny spent and mile traveled.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” will likely win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year. Yes, indeed, this means that you will have to read the film through subtitles unless you speak Spanish. However, do not let this stop you from seeing this movie. It is truly a mysterious and magical work of cinematic art. Even if you miss some of the dialogue, the visual imagery is fantastic.

The plot is set in post-Civil War Spain, in the height of the Fascist reign. From this frightening time period, “Pan’s Labyrinth” develops into a riveting adult fairy tale. Young Ofelia travels into the hills with her pregnant mother to live with her absolutely evil stepfather, who is a captain in the Fascist army. Ofelia soon learns from a creepy-looking mythical creature that she is more than a mere girl. She is actually a princess who must reclaim her birthright. (No spoiler- all this is revealed right away). The story progressively intertwines the terrifying real world that surrounds Ofelia and the mysterious fairy world that at times becomes equally dangerous.

This movie is visually and emotionally stunning. The fairy world is darkly dazzling in comparison with the sinister Fascist background. “Pan’s Labyrinth” also earns its R-rating as the plot leaves nothing to the imagination. However, the violence and brutality remain meaningful rather than gratuitous.

The film keeps you intrigued to the end as it takes you on an emotional roller coaster. “Pan’s Labyrinth” is unique, masterful, and a must-see film in my humble opinion. Even if you aren’t able to see it until it’s out on DVD, definitely do not miss the magic that is this movie.